Onboarding Margin Discussion HR — it’s a pressure cooker

HR — it’s a pressure cooker

Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 | No Comments

We wanted to bring to your attention an article published in the Wall Street Journal on April 18, 2010, entitled, “Ten Things Human Resources Won’t Tell You”.  While much of the article serves as advice for the employee in maximizing their experience with HR, the Journal also speaks to the need for HR to take on a more active role in driving company performance – something that we certainly endorse.

The author, Jim Rendon, points out the fact that in recent years, HR departments have been under increasing pressure to justify their resources and impact the company’s bottom line.  As evidence, Jim cites a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) where head count for the average HR department fell from 13 employees in 2007 to 9 employees in 2008 – we are sure partially driven by the economic and labor market (i.e., recruiting downturn).

Given our experience, we know that Onboarding is an excellent way for HR departments (and organizations more broadly) to reduce costly attrition and process inefficiencies while increasing employee time to, and level of productivity.  And even more impactful, a proper role for HR can help this investment in additional human capital be more effective in delivering against the enterprise’s strategic plans.  The following arguments made in the article also highlight this point of view:

  • There is a proven relationship between the strength of an organization’s HR department and the company’s financial performance: “Companies with strong HR departments have been shown to do better financially”
  • Smart companies recognize that HR Managers can be key influencers of talent retention: “Human resources managers do much more than handle employment agreements, medical forms, and 401(k) paperwork.  They can also have a hand in helping to retain and promote top talent”
  • Properly acculturating employees, such as by communicating the organization’s expectations of them, can drive company productivity: “Strong HR departments are now focusing on boosting productivity by helping employees better understand what’s expected of them”
  • HR can directly influence employee career development (and retention): “Empowered human resources reps can also help guide employees through their careers”

Each of these takeaways from the article relates to human capital concepts that we introduce in our report Making Onboarding Work and that we elaborate on in more detail in our upcoming book Successful Onboarding, which will be released by McGraw-Hill on July 16, 2010.

With the news from this month’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report (162,000 non-farm jobs added in March – the highest number in 3 years), now is certainly the time for HR and Onboarding initiatives to get more attention.

We invite you to share with us your opinion of the Wall Street Journal article, including elements that most resonated with you, and the impact that your organization is seeing as a result of the recent uptick in labor activity, by emailing us at onboarding@kaiserassociates.com.

For more information from the article:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303491304575188023801379324.html

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